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Unlocking the Power of the Gospel: Nine Essential Elements of the Kingdom Message

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16, CSB)

The power of the Gospel is that it is the power of God for salvation. It is salvation here and now from our own self-direction and self-destruction. It is salvation today from the power of sin which dominates our lives. It is salvation from guilt and shame. It is salvation today in knowing that because of the Gospel, we have been born again into new creations; the old has gone and the new has come. It is salvation for the future, knowing that we are citizens of God's kingdom and our home is with Christ. It is power for living in the way God made us to live. It is the presence of God in every believer, with power made available through surrender to him.

“After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”” (Mark 1:14–15, CSB)

The Kingdom of God has come near. It is within our reach. This was the good news proclaimed by Jesus. But what does that good news mean? The word we use for “good news” is the word “gospel”. Therefore, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news about Jesus Christ. The Gospel of the kingdom of God is the good news about the kingdom of God. But what does that mean? What is the content of this good news? 

I believe that the content of the good news of the kingdom of God can be put into nine essential elements. I’m not writing that this is all there is of the kingdom of God, far from it. I do believe that if we reduce it down more than these nine, we will be in danger of changing this Gospel of the Kingdom into something other than what Jesus proclaimed. 

So in this blog, I’m going to just briefly outline each element of what I believe are the essential elements of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. In future blogs I will fill out each of the elements in its own blog. 

With this said, here are the nine essential elements of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. 

First: All are accountable to God. 

Every human being who has ever been born or will ever be born is ultimately accountable to God. We acknowledge there are other lesser authorities to which we are accountable. We are accountable to our own conscience, to family, to our place of work, and to government. But our ultimate accountability is to God. He is our creator and our judge. It is Jesus the Messiah who will sit on the throne of judgment and all humans will stand before him one day and give account for what they have done with what God gave them. The apostle Paul wrote, “I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of his appearing and his kingdom:” (2 Timothy 4:1, CSB) See also Revelation 20:11. 

Second: Our problem is that we have rebelled against God. 

The first humans were created to have intimate fellowship with God and with one another. When Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God (see Genesis 3), they broke His one command. Ever since, we have been at odds with each other because we are at odds with God. There can be no peace while living in rebellion. Every one of us is or has been in rebellion against God. The Scriptures put it this way, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, CSB) Every sin and every problem we have in this world, if it could be traced, would lead back to the desire to be our own god. We are not designed for such. The problems we have today are a result of generations of rebellion against God. “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7, CSB)

Third: The Kingdom of God is now available.

Jesus said as much when he came preaching. This was the good news. God’s Kingdom, that was out of reach, is now in our midst. It was within reach because Jesus was there. Jesus is the king and wherever the king is, so is his kingdom. When reading the Gospels, you can see the kingdom of God being unleashed through Jesus and defeating all other kingdoms. “Jesus continued going around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.” (Matthew 9:35, CSB)

Fourth: Jesus is the Messiah.

The Messiah, which means “anointed” is in Jewish expectation the one who would usher in the kingdom of God. The word “Christ” is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew word “Messiah.” This Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. The great question to ask someone who would deny that Jesus was the Messiah is this: “If Jesus of Nazareth is not the Messiah, then according to the prophecies of the Bible about the Messiah, who would the Messiah be?" The answer is that he would be like Jesus. John, the last living apostle wrote at the end of his Gospel, “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31, CSB)

Fifth: Jesus suffered and rose from the dead. 

A section of the Apostle Creed reads: “Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead.” Jesus was arrested, beaten and endured three religious trials and three civil trials. Sentenced to die by Potius Pilate, he was flogged then crucified. 

From noon until 3:00 pm, darkness fell over all the land. About 3:00 pm, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus' words were a direct quotation from another ancient prophecy that described the kind of death the Messiah would experience and the results that would come from it (Psalm 22). 

After receiving a drink, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Then He bowed His head and drew His last breath. At that moment, the ground shook, rocks split apart, tombs opened up, and the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).

On that third day, Sunday, Jesus rose from the grave. It was not a resuscitation but something new. Something that had never happened before. Something that has never existed before. Resurrection is the remaking, the transforming of matter in this created order. It becomes something new.

By his resurrection, Jesus overcame sin, death, and the devil. “Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.”” (Revelation 21:5, CSB)

As the apostle Peter wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, CSB)

Sixth: Jesus will return, reign, and rule.

Jesus told his disciples that he was going away. He would return and take them to the place he prepared for them. “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1–4, CSB)

From the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary we find the promise of Jesus’ universal reign and rule. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:32–33, CSB)

Seventh: Therefore, repent. 

“Repent” is a word that comes from the Greek word “metanoia.” The prefix, “meta” has one of its meanings as “change.” “Noia” is the verb form of the noun “nous”, which is the Greek word for “mind.” Put them together and it means “change of mind.” This is not just an intellectual exercise. “Repent” means a change of mind that goes on to be reflected so deeply that it changes us at the core of our identity and behavior. 

So repent is to change your mind about who God is, what he has done, who we are, and what we are to do. We can have a change of mind because God’s Kingdom is here in Jesus the Messiah. Jesus said, “...I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well.” (Luke 13:3, CSB). The apostle Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost said, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38, CSB)

Eighth: Believe the Gospel. 

For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, CSB)

For many, to believe is to trust. I think this definition is about as good as any. Trust the Gospel! Put your confidence in not only the person of Jesus Christ, but what he has done for us as well. It all goes together. Make no mistake. Everyone who will change their mind in this way and then put their confidence in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will be saved. “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame.’” (Romans 10:9–11, CSB)

Ninth: Follow Jesus.

Following Jesus means to become an apprentice of Jesus. We know what it is like to apprentice to someone. Plumbers have them. Electricians have them. Rabbi’s in Jesus’ day had them. They are individuals who live in the community of the Rabbi. In that community they learn by watching and by doing. Mistakes are made, but that is expected. It is why you “apprentice.” You can learn from your mistakes and grow and then change. Our following Jesus is not a quest for perfection, but an admiration. It is similar to a son wanting to be like his father. Love and admiration are the great motivators. A person who is a follower of Jesus will not stay the same. You cannot follow Jesus and stay the same. If you are not changing you are not following the Master. Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19, CSB)

As you read through these nine essential elements of the Kingdom of God, you may have noticed that the first three describe how we got into trouble, but God has not abandoned us. The second three focus on the solution: Jesus the Messiah. The last three are things we do in order to receive the benefits of the available Kingdom. You see, while the Kingdom of God is open to all, it is not something automatically applied to your life. You must repent and believe. The evidence for you that you have properly repented and believed is that your life has changed. That change is that you now follow Jesus. How that change works out is different for each person, but the one constant is that you will represent Jesus and his kingdom on this earth somehow and in some way. Following Jesus isn’t easy, but it is the most rewarding, both in this life and the next. 

Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29–31, CSB)

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